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Knoxville Symphony Orchestra honors Veterans through music

KSO paid a special first-time visit to the Ben Atchley Tennessee State Veteran's Home on Thursday.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On Thursday morning, sounds of melodies filled the hallways of the Ben Atchley Tennessee State Veteran's Home when the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra paid a visit. 

Through music and sounds of wellness, musicians used their talent to honor veterans from all different service backgrounds. 

Veterans from all branches, from the Army to the Navy, sat together for a performance from the iconic Knoxville orchestra.

William P. Phelps is an Army veteran himself. He said he joined the military on September 18, 1943. This was right in the middle of World War II, and he said he served part of his time in Europe. 

"We was in the invasion of Normandy and we was both on Utah and Omaha Beach," Phelps said. 

He sat smiling along with other veterans. This was his first time listening to the orchestra. 

"I like that music," Phelps said. "I just thank the Lord I'm here for this long time. I was 97 years old on January 15 ... I never thought I'll see probably 30." 

Aram Demirjian, the Music Director of KSO, said that music for these veterans is not only healing for the soul, but the performances also provide emotional and physical healing. The music the orchestra played was from their wellness string quartet. 

"Presenting the joy of music is the greatest way of saying, 'Thank you,' that we have in our ability as musicians," Demirjian said.

He said that this act of performance is an act of service and paying it forward. 

"We are feeling incredibly grateful and inspired to be performing at the Ben Atchley Veterans Home," he said. "Our veterans serve our community and have served our country in such an invaluable way that we can't do enough to say thank you, but we can seek to honor our veterans in every way possible."

The orchestra's mission to honor our military is not done here. Next week they'll be hosting a special performance for all East Tennessee veterans.

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